Author’s Intent, A Post About Nothing

Inherent in the ability to do whatever one chooses is the luxury of being able to do nothing at all. I tend to be a creature of habit which often manifests itself in a high degree of obsessive compulsive behavior, so remaining active often flies in the face of my need to sometimes take a break. In my work habits I handle chaos better than idleness and I’ve never been good at simply hanging out.

In life, we’re often encouraged to “stop and smell the roses” but this, too, can become burdensome when one feels obligated to appreciate one’s surroundings. How often do we go on vacation and feel the need to enjoy ourselves in any number of “fun” activities, rather than simply taking time to rest and recharge. I’ve heard of people who return from time off feeling the need for a vacation to recover from it.

Like many who craft words for a pastime, I tend to be an introvert, so being around others takes a great deal of energy away from me. I have always had a small circle of friends and typically avoid crowds when I can. As I’ve aged, I’ve become more pathologically introverted, and sometimes go out of my way to avoid others. I do, sometimes, feel the need to circumvent this tendency. I rarely use the drive through at restaurants, choosing instead to go inside to order takeout, and I always choose sitting at the bar rather than being secluded at a table when I do eat out.

In some sense, I look at these divergences as taking a vacation from myself. Giving myself permission to be idle allows me to concentrate on myself and gives me a mental break by not worrying that I’m not accomplishing some goal. It’s easy to take this too far, and take a longer break than I need, so I do have to be mindful of striking a balance, but I try not to let occasional downtime worry me too much. Given the spotty nature of my employment over the past few years, I frequently find myself with either too much free time or too little without much in between.

My work schedule often intrudes on my routine when I’m home. If I’m working a job that requires me to be at site for more than an eight hour shift, it’s usually difficult to find time to work out, and I don’t always have enough knowledge of an area to know when and where it’s safe to take a walk. When I can, I try to use the hotel gym, but that can take some getting used to, since it’s a different discipline than walking and when I’m working long hours, I try to sleep as long as I can or need the time to prepare for work. In these situations, it’s easier to take a break because I simply have no choice.

Fortunately, I can usually write under any circumstance, so I don’t have to take prolonged time off from that. It doesn’t necessarily make the process easier and I do, still, step away from that occasionally, but I always try to remain creative on some level, typing notes or editing a manuscript. As with everything, it helps to find a balance. Still, it’s nice to step away once in a while and I try to always allow myself the freedom to do so when necessary.

Leave a Reply